Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Ratanakkiri villagers say water shortages reaching critical level

via CAAI

Wednesday, 16 March 2011 15:02Khoun Leakhana

Residents in the Banlung district of Ratanakkiri province say they face severe water shortages because of drought conditions that have persisted since last year.

Bun Ly, 43, from Labansiek commune, said residents are concerned as wells and water reserves dry up.

He said that in previous years residents could deepen their wells to find water but that measures taken this year have not helped.

“Last year’s drought hit in April and May, but this year the drought has continued since late last year.”

Another resident, Song Thy, 50, said villagers have appealed to authorities for assistance but to no effect.

Ratanakkiri Governor Paov Ham Phan said he could not address the issue yesterday.

Chhay Thim, a provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said 70 percent of residents in Ratanakkiri province get their water from Boeung Kanseng lake through the provincial water authority.

The rest, he added, get the majority of their water from private wells.

“The drought has caused water prices to rise,” Chhay Thim said.

“So we have called on the authorities to monitor the problem and find an immediate solution to the shortage.”

Ratanakkiri provincial Governor Paov Ham Phan said he could not address the issue yesterday because it was the result of natural causes.

“I think that the responsibility for this problem is with the Water Resource Department, because only they can tell when we have water and when we don’t.”

Mao Saray, director of the provincial Rural Water Supply Department, said he has not yet received a detailed report on water shortages in Ratanakkiri.

He added that he would act once he received the necessary information.

“We will ask our officials to investigate the situation,” he said yesterday.

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